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Topic: What key do you normally compose in?

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  1. #1
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    What key do you normally compose in?

    Greets.

    Was wondering what key most of you compose your orchestral works in. Of course it is going to vary, but is there a particular key you find yourself using more? What are the determining factors of the key you choose? Familiarity with that key? Unfamiliarity with a key and in need of a challenge? Do you feel that some keys pose different emotions for you (not talking major/minor here)? If you use a sample library, and find you "need" to play a note or two out of an instrument's range, do you re-arrange in another key to accomodate those notes, or do you cheat because you can get away with it?

    Cheers.

  2. #2

    Re: What key do you normally compose in?

    To me:
    C minor has a sense of hope
    C# minor has ability to scare myself
    Db major has a sweet romance
    Eb major has a touch of serenity to it.

    these are my personal favs

    Atonal is handy for writers block, it's funny how children make it seem so easy

  3. #3
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    Re: What key do you normally compose in?

    Quote Originally Posted by RiffWraith
    Greets.

    Was wondering what key most of you compose your orchestral works in. Cheers.
    Greets Jeff - how are things in NY?

    I don't understand your question Jeff.

    It's true that different keys somehow evoke different moods - but when writing, you will find that you constantly change keys anyway. I for one, generally always wind up in another key for some reason - it's not usually planned - because I don't plan.

    You need to get familiar with all the keys - for some reason I never go anywhere near B major - I hate playing in that key.

  4. #4

    Re: What key do you normally compose in?

    Stoooooopid question comin' up:

    Regarding divisions between notes, and the idea of temperament (sp):

    Is there a real, verifiable difference between keys? Does a C minor or a G minor really sound different? Is there a difference in the tonality, or is it more a timbre thing? Does it depend on the instrument?

    I don't know that I can really tell, and I've never had it said specifically as I'm self taught. All restraint of laughter and rolling eyes is much appreciated!

    Cheers,

    Adrian

  5. #5
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    Re: What key do you normally compose in?

    Quote Originally Posted by aelliscomposer
    Stoooooopid question comin' up:

    Regarding divisions between notes, and the idea of temperament (sp):

    Is there a real, verifiable difference between keys? Does a C minor or a G minor really sound different? Is there a difference in the tonality, or is it more a timbre thing? Does it depend on the instrument?

    I don't know that I can really tell, and I've never had it said specifically as I'm self taught. All restraint of laughter and rolling eyes is much appreciated!

    Cheers,

    Adrian
    I've guessed successfully at times, but not consistently. For me, I think it amounts to half fluke/half key knowledge. To say so is to affirm that knowing one key from another can be done without perfect pitch (which I don't have), so I guess my answer is "yes"-there is a verifiable difference.

    Belbin

  6. #6
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    Re: What key do you normally compose in?

    Quote Originally Posted by belbin
    I've guessed successfully at times, but not consistently. For me, I think it amounts to half fluke/half key knowledge. To say so is to affirm that knowing one key from another can be done without perfect pitch (which I don't have), so I guess my answer is "yes"-there is a verifiable difference.

    Belbin
    There is a difference, it just depends on which time you were composing in. Our C# wasn't the same as Mozart's C#. I also think that the difference in colour between keys is so subtle especially when compared with the colours of the instruments and their ranges as to only make a small difference to the best music (but then, I don't have perfect pitch so what do I know).

    I think the main thing to remember about keys is that in part you write what is idiomatic to the instrument. That is why there is Beethoven wrote piano pieces in Db (well, at least for a few bars) but not orchestral pieces in that key (to my knowledge). Also, many concert band pieces are in Bb or Eb because these keys fall comfortably on most instruments in the band.
    Personally I always try to push myself to different keys to see what they sound like.

    Cheers,

    Christiaan

  7. #7

    Re: What key do you normally compose in?

    Quote Originally Posted by aelliscomposer
    Is there a real, verifiable difference between keys? Does a C minor or a G minor really sound different?
    It really depends.... if you play C minor over G, it's G dorian, which is still G minor. but if you transpose C minor to G minor, it paints a differant picture.

  8. #8

    Re: What key do you normally compose in?

    Yea, that makes the most sense.

    Now, with a synth playing sine wav - is there a difference between keys? Or are the divisions equal?

    Are we (western ears) used to equal divisions? Is that happening in western music systems?

  9. #9
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    Re: What key do you normally compose in?

    D minor is, of course, the saddest of all keys.

  10. #10

    Re: What key do you normally compose in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Dirk
    To me:
    C minor has a sense of hope
    C# minor has ability to scare myself
    Db major has a sweet romance
    Eb major has a touch of serenity to it.
    Aaron, you're a guitar player right? It's probably something timbre/string position related instead of real difference between keys. The only difference between keys is in the amount of frequencies between the intervals, which shouldn't mean that different keys are better in expressing a certain mood, or maybe it is audible for those with a trained absolute pitch...

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